Getting To Cartago
To make it to Cartago from San Jose, the capital of the country, take the Florencio del Castillo Highway. To get to the point where this highway starts, located in Curridabat, you need to make it to the city of San Pedro first.
Note: Although Cartago is really close to San Jose, if you’re traveling there in peak times (7 to 9 am and 5 to 7 pm) you can expect the normal trip of 30 minutes to extend for maybe a couple of hours. Buses for Cartago are departing from downtown San Jose every 10 minutes.
They’re quite comfortable and the fare is inexpensive, so if you happen to be in the capital and wish to take a short trip to another major city in the country, Cartago is an excellent option.
Alternatively, you can also pick up a collective taxi (they leave until they have four passengers) next to the National Theater in San Jose, and the fare is also inexpensive.
What to Do in Cartago Costa Rica
If you come to Cartago, you can’t miss a visit to the Basilica de Los Angeles, which is probably the most storied church in Costa Rica. Although it was built back in 1639, it has suffered the consequences of several earthquakes, but now is completely restored.
The best time to visit the Basilica is in August when millions of Costa Ricans walk from all over the country to pay tribute to the Lady of the Angels, the virgin to which the church is dedicated. A visit to the Irazu Volcano is another excellent reason to come to Cartago.
This is one of the few active volcanoes in the country, and also the tallest one. Although the summit of the volcano is rarely clear from clouds, when it is, visitors can see both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans at the same time.
Another volcano worth a visit in this province is the Turrialba, located next to the Irazu. It has 3 craters, and you can watch them all from the different trails around the volcano. If you feel like hiking, the top of the volcano can be reached in roughly 3 hours, depending on your personal ability.
If you want to experience some of the natural beauty in the country but don’t want to make it too far from the center of the country, check out the Tapanti National Park. It’s located between the counties of El Guarco, Paraiso, and Jimenez in Cartago, and it’s a place where you’ll find more than 45 species of mammals, including Monkeys and Deers, 28 species of reptiles, and more than 260 species of birds. It rains a lot here, so we recommend you to bring a jacket and an umbrella.